Preemie Hats For Charity

Howdy, Knitters! Welcome back! If this is your first time visiting the Knitting Daddy blog, I hope you enjoy your stay and add this blog to the list of blogs you visit regularly. If you’re a returning reader, I’m so glad you keep coming back for more!

This week, I’m going to write about a cause that is near and dear to my heart: Preemie Hats. Specifically, I’m going to share some details about a charity drive that I am heading in the Itty Bitty Knits group in Ravelry this month, and how you can join the fun.

Before we get into preemie hats, though, let’s take a quick look at what else has been going on in my knitting world since I last posted.

Recently In Podcasts

As I suspected, my ability to listen to podcasts has greatly decreased with my new job and much shorter commute. My iPod hasn’t been completely silent, however. I added a new podcast to my listening queue: Down Cellar Studio Podcast. I also listened to an episode of the KnottyGirls Knitcast and The Knitmore Girls.

In Down Cellar Studio Podcast Episode 48 (Mindless Knitting), Jen talks about various knitting projects that are great to do while watching TV, riding in the car, etc. — mindless knitting. She also introduces a new shawl that she designed.This sounds like it’s going to be a really fun podcast, and I’m looking forward to continuing to follow along. in Episode 39 (Stitches Bound!), Jen shares her excitement about going to Stitches Midwest. There is also lots of talk about socks. I really like this podcast, and am going to enjoy making it a regular listen.

In KnottyGirls Episode 31 (It’s Raining Babies (Or Jen and Laura Can’t Speak English)), Jen talks about healing after complications with her wisdom tooth removal. My heart goes out to her, as I *didn’t* have complications, and still didn’t enjoy my wisdom tooth removal recovery. There is also talk about sweaters, and talk about the Buffyverse. They also have a great discussion about moths.

In Knitmore Girls Episode 292 (Public Service Announcements) Jasmin shares tales of her Tour de Fleece victory. And there is more talk about all of the KALs and contests that they are hosting.

Recently On My Needles

Getting settled into the new job and trying to do things around the house have kept my needles pretty quiet again this week. One advantage of my new job is that my office is in downtown, and located a couple of blocks from my local yarn store: Gate City Yarns. There’s a nice, comfy couch next to the fireplace near the back of the store, perfect for sitting and knitting. Since it’s just a short walk from the office, I took advantage of that one day, hung out during my lunch break, and cast on my second sock for the Serenity Socks I’m working on.

Second Sock Cast On

WooHoo! I avoided Second Sock Syndrome by casting on this sock. 2/3 of the way down the ribbing.

Ravelry Project Page: Greg’s Serenity Socks
Pattern: How I Make My Socks by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Serenity colorway

On Saturday, I knit up a quick preemie hat. I forgot how quickly these tiny hats knit up! I absolutely love this pattern, and am indebted to the IBK forum for suggesting the pattern. This is the eyelets version, and I’ve already cast on for a second hat. I modified the crown shaping to make the decreases symmetrical. Other than that, I knit it as written, and had a great time doing it. I have more yarn just like this, and am going to be knitting more hats with it, trying the different options in the pattern.

Preemie Hat

This preemie hat was such a quick knit. The keys are included for scale.

Ravelry Project Page: 2014-08 IBK Charity – Preemie Hats For Charity
Pattern: Preemie Hats For Charity by Carissa Browning
Yarn Used: Ummm… It’s a soft acrylic, but I don’t know exactly what it is since the band was missing. My friend Mary Sue sent me a box of baby-appropriate yarn when she heard about the preemie hat drive I’m hosting.

Preemie Hats For Charity

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m hosting the IBK Charity Knit this month, and that’s the focus of this post. Instead of writing it all out all over again, I’m going to quote the post I wrote in the IBK forum.

Howdy, Itty Bitty Knitters!

I am so honored to be hosting the August 2014 IBK Charity. Thank all of you for letting me step on my soapbox for a month and champion one of my favorite causes. This month, we will be supporting a cause that is very near and dear to my heart: Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women’s Hospital in Greensboro, NC, USA.

As many of you know, my 2-year old daughter Blueberry was born two-and-a-half months prematurely. She’s doing great, but those first several months of her life were a roller coaster of emotions for us. I wrote about the experience in more detail in My Knitting Origin Story on my blog. The short version goes like this: one night as my wife and I were camped out by Blueberry’s isolette, watching her sleep, a nurse stopped by and gave us a few hand-knit and -crocheted hats that had been donated to the NICU. Those cute and quirky hats really brought a ray of sunshine to us and brightened our night. They also inspired me to learn how to knit. Those preemie hats really do make a difference to the families who receive them.

Here’s a picture of Blueberry in the first knitted hat I ever made:

Blueberry In Preemie Hat

Blueberry In Preemie Hat

That hat barely fits on my fist.

In addition the comfort the handmade hats gave us, we also received a lot of support from FSNCC, whose mission is to provide support, education and caring connections to those who have a child with special needs or those born prematurely. I especially enjoyed the weekly scrapbooking club and the opportunity to talk with other dads who were experiencing the same kinds of emotions I was experiencing with a child in the NICU. This is a great organization, and in the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that I am proud to currently be serving as an Executive Board Member for FSNCC.

FSNCC and the Women’s Hospital NICU work hand in hand, which is why I am combining them for the IBK Charity this month. This gives us lots of opportunities to help. The obvious knitting tie-in is to make a preemie hat! There are tons of patterns available, and they are all cute. The NICU does not have explicit requirements for donated hats, but use common sense: use yarn that can stand up to being thrown in the washer (because it will be before it’s distributed), use a soft yarn because preemie skin is especially sensitive, make sure the brim has some give to it so it won’t be too tight, and don’t include any design elements that are subject to being pulled off and/or becoming choking hazards (buttons, tassels, etc.). A good rule of thumb for sizing a preemie hat is that it would fit on an orange. The hospital will also welcome newborn hats if you’d prefer to knit something larger — a good rule of thumb for a newborn hat is that it would fit on a grapefruit. Any hat design, from simple to fancy, is welcome. My contact at FSNCC mentioned that holiday-themed hats are especially fun, and they can save the hat until the appropriate holiday to distribute it.

A great non-knitting donation for FSNCC is a new baby board book. When parents read to their children in the NICU, it has a calming effect for both the children and the parents. It also helps establish a pattern of reading that extends long beyond the NICU stay. When Blueberry was in the NICU, I read “Little Blue Truck” to her almost every day, and it’s still a favorite book for us to read together. FSNCC is currently initiating a program where they are collecting board books to give away to every family that goes through the NICU. I’m very excited about this program and want to help make sure it succeeds.

FSNCC also welcomes any (US tax-deductible) monetary contributions, which can be made directly to FSNCC via PayPal on the FSNCC donation pages.

I’ll be here all month long to answer questions, either in this thread or via PM. So please do feel free to reach out to me any time.

Thank you so much for participating in the IBK Charity projects, and I am especially grateful for the support you are giving to FSNCC and the Women’s Hospital NICU this month.

I do hope you’ll join the IBK group in supporting this charity drive. If you’re not already a member of the IBK group on Ravelry, please join us — you can participate in the discussion thread all month long and see all of the hats people in the group are making.

Have you participated in an organized charity drive before? What was it like? What was the charity? Do you knit preemie hats? Is there a special reason that you do? Join the conversation and leave a comment talking about your experiences with knitting for charities, or knitting preemie hats.

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

10 thoughts on “Preemie Hats For Charity

    • Hi, Denise! Thanks for checking out my blog — I hope you enjoy it. I think the Preemie Hat drive in IBK this month is going to go well!

  1. I recently donated a bunch of preemie hats to a local children’s hospital. They knit up so fast that I didn’t even make project pages. What a great cause to knit for!

    • Awesome, Pam! Knitting preemie hats are great for so many reasons — they jump on and off your needles quickly, the need is everywhere, etc.

      I’m not making individual project pages, but I did make a project page for the pattern I’m using, and I’m putting pictures of all the hats I’m knitting up with that patter on it, as well as general pattern notes. That’s a good compromise for me.

  2. Hi Greg. I get your blog in my WP app and WP website feeds, but I can’t comment unless I’m on the laptop and click on “View Original.”
    The new sock yarn above is really cool and fun. The speckled eyelets came out great. I’m almost done with my first hat. I’ve been informing ppl about your charity drive and showing ppl and they are amazed at the size and comment how cute it is.

    • Very weird about the WP app and its interaction with the blog. I don’t know how to help with that. I use the WP app, but mostly just for approving comments when they come in. I still tend to do most of my blog reading and commenting on a “real” computer….

      Yes, the sock yarn is very cool! I’m going to try to re-focus on my socks soon, so maybe that second one will jump off the needles before too much longer. Thanks for the comments about the eyelets! While I think it worked out well, I think a solid yarn shows off the eyelet design much, much better.

      Thanks for knitting for my charity and letting people know about it. When people see how tiny a preemie hat is, it really hits home how fragile these children are when they are born. Even after five weeks in the NICU and almost doubling her birth weight, Blueberry was still able to fit in my baseball glove when she came home.

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